Ronald Koeman: “There are no bonuses for finishing fourth, they’re given for finishing first”

Ronald Koeman inherited a Barcelona team sore from their 8-2 pasting at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Champions League and has overseen a tumultuous few months.

Speaking with Barca Magazine in comments carried by Mundo Deportivo, Koeman touched upon his first half-season in charge and his thoughts on various issues surrounding the club.

Of primary importance for Koeman was ensuring a culture shift where players realised the importance of winning. “I think in the end we have to play to win games and titles,” he said.

“There are no bonuses for finishing fourth, they’re given for finishing first. That’s the mentality that must exist here, we cannot settle for less.”

The Dutchman also touched on the institutional change the club are in the midst of, explaining that while they must be mindful of the financial difficulties the club are experiencing they still have expectations to fulfil.

“Barcelona is still a team that must win, knowing we have made changes, but still aspiring to the maximum and demanding the maximum,” he said. “That was the mentality and we must continue with this mentality.”

Lionel Messi remains a key part of the first team and has dominated Barcelona news in 2020. Koeman also touched on his relationship with him. “If he is fit to play, he plays,” Koeman said.

“Leo is of course older than before but he’s still a player who likes to be there a lot and win games. He is enjoying every day in training and is very involved.

“As a coach I talk to my players and I also talk to Leo about other things because he is the captain of the team. We discuss many things, not just the game.”

The undoubted bright spot of his reign so far has been the emergence of Ansu Fati and Pedri as top-class first teamers. “To talk about these youngsters is nice because they deserve it, but they’re also young people who have a lot to learn.

“Ansu and Pedri are just 17 and 18 years old, but what they have done, to be at the highest level with Barcelona’s first team, is something very big. In Pedri’s case, coming from Las Palmas and already playing in games against [Real] Madrid and Juventus with the level he has shown is fantastic.”

Tags Ansu Fati Barcelona Pedri Ronald Koeman